What is the difference between CAM and Applied Mathematics? I’ve seen both.

The Center for Applied Mathematics (CAM) is the administrative designation. It administers the academic field of Applied Mathematics.

Do you offer a Master's degree in Applied Mathematics?

No. CAM does not offer a terminal MS. Students are admitted for the PhD program only.

Is Applied Mathematics part of the Mathematics Department?

No, Applied Math and Math are two separate units. However, they are closely affiliated.

What concentrations does Applied Mathematics offer?

Applied Math is very interdisciplinary and our students are in a wide variety of concentrations, both theoretical and applied, ranging from evolutionary biology to mechanical engineering. The field system at Cornell allows students to work with a broad range of the faculty in the field of Applied Math. 

What is the field system?

All faculty have a “home” department, yet might do research that is broader than what is done in the “home” department. For example, a professor in operations research and information engineering may also do research in applied mathematics. The faculty in applied math vote on whether or not such a professor is appropriate for the field and if he or she is qualified to become a new member. Due to this flexible structure, the field of applied math is extremely broad and gives many choices for students. However, it should be noted that students in applied math still have their own “home base” with dedicated space, facilities, computer access, staff, and academic director.

How competitive is it to get admitted to Applied Math?

Very! We typically receive about 200 applications a year for about 7-10 slots.

Do I need to have a Master’s degree before I apply?

No, we admit students both from Master’s level and undergraduate programs.

Do I have to take the GRE or Mathematics Subject GRE??

Neither test is required. We look at the entirety of the application. 

Can I have the TOEFL waived?

In most cases, no. You must meet the minimums in each of the four test sections. Only students from English speaking countries, or who have been enrolled at least two years at a school in an English speaking country where English is the language of instruction may have it waived. It is highly recommended to check with the CAM program office or the Graduate School to see you if are eligible for a waiver.

I am from Singapore. Why do I have to take the TOEFL?

The Graduate School sets the policy for English proficiency and has not designated Singapore (or Nigeria) as exempt from the TOEFL. Please check with the Graduate School for more details.

Do you accept non-degree students?

Only if they are supported financially and advised by an Applied Mathematics faculty member.

When will I hear about my admission decision?

CAM receives a number of applications and each application receives individual attention as to completeness and competitiveness in the application pool. While this approach may be more time consuming, it ensures that each applicant receives the attention that is due to him/her. If you have outstanding items, you will be notified. However, we very much appreciate your patience in what must surely be a very stressful period. We begin to release decisions in February and complete notifying most of the applicants by the end of March.

Can I visit CAM?

You may arrange a visit to CAM on your own time at your own expense. Please feel free to contact our office so we may help you. Admitted students are invited to visit CAM either individually or for a Visit Day along with other admitted students. Such students are offered travel support.

I was put on the waitlist. Can I be admitted if I pay for my tuition and health insurance?

No, we do not admit self-paying students. Students are either funded directly from University sources or from a third party (such as an external fellowship, employer, etc.). As such, all of our students received funding.

What is the A exam?

The admission to candidacy, or A, exam is required to continue study in the Applied Mathematics program. It is an oral presentation/examination administered by the student’s committee to determine if the student is prepared for research. The common outcomes are pass or conditional pass; in the latter case the student has to follow the recommendations of the committee for further preparation. A rare outcome is fail. In this case the student’s committee may allow the student to retake the exam at a later date. If the committee does not allow that, the student is involuntarily withdrawn from the program.

Do you offer a minor in Applied Mathematics?

CAM offers a minor for students who are in another doctoral program (not in Mathematics). There is also an undergraduate minor in Applied Mathematics that is offered through College of Engineering.

What if I have a significant event while I am a student and I can’t study? What will happen?

The Graduate School can put you on a leave of absence (LOA) up to a year in duration upon the recommendation of CAM. You will be in good standing with the University, but not required to undertake enrollment. Time on a LOA is not counted against years of guaranteed funding.

What if I take more than five years (not including LOAs) to complete my PhD?

Six years is relatively common for Applied Mathematics students. However, the sixth year of funding is not guaranteed and only granted depending on availability of funds. Students are not supported past six years except in extremely unusual circumstances.

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